WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2005-In his first act as President, John F. Kerry signed legislation today mandating that the New York Yankees receive exclusive rights to all Little League players with batting averages over .300 and/or 70-mile-an-hour fastballs.
The legislation, sponsored by Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, came in response to complaints from Yankee executives who were upset that other teams were trying to obtain the services of several promising youngsters. “We are the Yankees; we are entitled to have first dibs on the best young players in America,” said one Yankee executive, who asked to remain anonymous. Dressed in a sport jacket and white turtleneck, the executive asserted that “nobody wants to see a World Series between little hick cities like Los Angeles and, you know, that place up north where everybody wearsthesame-color socks. We need this law to protect our franchise from those who would destroy our way of life.”
The bill had been heavily criticized in the new President’s native state of Massachusetts, home of the Boston Red Sox, perennial rival of the Yankees. But many political observers said that by signing the bill, the President showed that he will stand up to the special interests he denounced during the campaign: The Red Sox had lobbied against the bill. “This is a sign that the President is willing to do what’s best for the country,” said Professor Frank Incense, chairman of the George Steinbrenner Institute of Politics and Ethics at Ohio State University. “This really was a test for him, and he showed that he understands the important role that the Yankees play in today’s economy.”
Critics say the new law will lead to continued repeats of the 2004 World Series, in which the Yankee starters played the Yankee reserves in the first intrasquad world championship in sports history. (After the Yankees finished the 2004 regular season with a 162-0 record, every other team gave up.) When the seventh and deciding World Series game ended in a tie after a record 135 innings, both Yankee squads were given a share of the championship. It was the first time in baseball history that two teams were co-winners of the sport’s ultimate prize. Ironically, those two teams were the New York Yankees.
To the surprise of many, television ratings for the ’04 World Series were among the highest in years. Conventional wisdom had it that an all-Yankees World Series would draw a limited audience. The Yankees, however, decided to divide the team into shirts and skins for the Series, a development which television analysts said led to an increase in interest among groups that usually do not watch professional sports. Newcomer Alex Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter-both of whom finished the season with perfect 1.000 batting averages-were among the shirtless Yankees.
“This just proves that the Yankees deserve to be in the World Series every year,” said any number of shills who write the sports news in the city’s tabloids. “New York is No. 1! It has been ordained by God Himself.”
In a related development, God announced today that He will bring Babe Ruth back from the dead to resolve a potential problem for the 2005 Yankees. Team officials conceded that Yankee principal owner George Steinbrenner was less than happy with the team’s offensive production from the right-field position last year. Yankee right-fielders struck out twice with runners in scoring position with less than two outs in day games following night games in Seattle. After the second such failure, Mr. Steinbrenner reportedly said: “Babe [expletive] Ruth could [expletive] hit [expletive] better than these [expletive] guys, and he’s been [expletive] dead for [expletive] 50 [expletive] years!”
In announcing Mr. Ruth’s revival, St. Mel Allen, a spokesman for God, predicted that the late Sultan of Swat would not only solve the Yankees’ right-field problems, but would lead the league in Ballantine blasts. A spokesman for the commissioner’s office distanced himself from God’s prediction, noting that Budweiser is the official beer sponsor of Major League Baseball and that the league urges fans to drink responsibly.
Heavenly insiders predict that God may consider reviving several other deceased Yankee stars if the team finds itself struggling to remain undefeated in 2005. None of them, however, would be from the Yankee team that was beaten by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955. Having lost to a hated rival, many of the deceased ’55 Yankees are not yet in God’s custody, the heavenly insiders explained. “Let’s just say they’ve been spending some quality time with Walter O’Malley, if you get my meaning,” the insider said.
Also, God announced that efforts to preserve the late Ted Williams for future use as a Red Sox left-fielder were doomed to failure. Sources say that if God were a Red Sox fan, he would have given Bill Buckner two good legs and a better glove.